Following three years of development, production and design, the first trial version of Saab's unique wing panel for Clean Sky is ready. It was unveiled for the first time at Clean Sky SFWA's annual meeting in March.
In mid-March, Clean Sky held its annual meeting in Linköping, Sweden, where the SFWA wing panel and collaboration project between Saab and Airbus took centre stage.
Saab is participating in three parts within the EU's Clean Sky project: Smart Fixed Wing Aircraft (SFWA), Systems for Green Operations and Technology Evaluator. Within Clean Sky SFWA, Saab is designing and manufacturing an upper wing shell with an integrated leading edge for the aircraft's left wing.
"The production of the integrated wing panel is groundbreaking. The material being used is the latest carbon-fibre composite available on the market. There are stringent, if not extreme demands on the surface quality in terms of permitted steps, play and waviness, and this was the biggest challenge we faced with regard to the composite items," says Thomas Hellström, project manager at Saab for SFWA.
Saab's expertise within aerodynamics has been essential in the development of the wing panel and the team has worked hard to improve the wing's aerodynamic properties in order to maintain the laminar flows so that the air resistance and fuel consumption can be reduced by at least 5 %.
"Through our participation in Clean Sky, and the development of the wing panel within SFWA, we together with Airbus have laid the foundation for an alternative construction method, which could change the way aircraft are built in the future," says Göran Bengtsson, programme manager at Saab for Clean Sky.
Over the next three years, the aeronautical work will be intensified even further. The objective is to design and manufacture a complete, 9 metre long wing with integrated leading edge. The wing shall then be fitted to an Airbus A340, replacing the existing wing outside the outer engine, and then test flown during the latter half of 2014.